Wednesday, January 15, 2014

12-27-13 And Off We Go!

12-27-13 We were ready to begin our road trip! Our plan was to travel from Chiang Mai to Mae Sariang, a district of Mae Hong Son that was to the west and a bit south of our starting destination. According to Google Maps, it is 235 km or a 4.5 hour drive. 

DELICIOUS organic chocolate chip cookie and very bland fresh mango smoothie
Semi-healthy way to kickstart our brand new adventure!

I had to say goodbye to
this great old friend of mine. :( 

And I made a new friend... :)

We also rented motorbikes we've never rented before.
Although they still look small, the Honda Click 125 CC's
were much more powerful than the other scooters we've
been renting. This was especially important, since we didn't
want our motorbikes to die while we were going up, down,
and around mountains.

Me on my very manly-looking bike

We had to dress up in layers again because as we traveled through
the mountains at 60kph, the cool air blasting past our clothes into
our bones. It was surprising because it made me feel like I had on
only a t-shirt, when in reality, I had on a tank top, a t-shirt, and 2 sweatshirts.

On our journey, we took random breaks to stop by
local, roadside points, like this temple.

Ooh :)

Guanyin :)

Sometimes I feel like the places on the side of the road that you
would have just missed while normally flying over it or driving past
it in the car are the best places to visit. They're almost like hidden gems.

Buddha and the King
Royalty is very important here in Thailand, but I'm sure from the depictions that I don't even have to explain that :)

We also passed by this waterfall place!

It was much more impressive than the ones
in Kanchanaburi, but unfortunately, because
it is so gigantic, it is not so much meant to be
experienced than to be observed.

Do you see the top crashing down onto the sunny part? Amazing!

Along our entire road trip, we passed by beautiful
scenery such as this. A few times, I tried to capture
all the different types of roads we rode on as well
as the mountains, the fields, etc., but I almost fell off.
Plus, it looked really ugly on the camera.

Stopping to use the bathroom at some random place, we purchased
some juicy oranges for only 40 baht/kilo!

Then, we made one of the best decisions on our road trip... to visit
Doi Inthanon National Park. Of course, it would have been so much
safer and more comfortable in a car, but I would never have given
up that exhilarating and breathtaking ride on our motorbikes.

Some of the roads were like this as we drove up
through the endless amount of trees.

We stopped at the very top, where people stood here and took pictures
of swirly clouds. It was not the best time or best viewpoint, and we
were sorely disappointed. Already running late to reach our hotel,
we had not just taken our bikes for an extra half an hour to this point
to look at clouds. Seriously!

We stopped to walk through this little nature
trail, where we would find the actual summit.

I found a bird!

I love these types of paths. It makes you feel like you've stumbled upon
something amazing that almost no one else explores (when of course
people take this path every day).

And then we reached THE HIGHEST SPOT IN THAILAND!!!

That's how high up we were!
We made it!!! :D

Remember how we were freezing? Well, we looked at
the thermometer and it was 50ish degrees. Wow,
it's shameful coming from Chicago and not being
able to withstand these "freezing" temperatures.

Because we decided to go up to the summit and hike, we ended up driving
in the intense darkness and extreme cold for almost 2.5 hours. Jess and I sang songs
at the top of our lungs, although the tunes never did reach past our
motorbike engines, which competed for noise, nor did it pass the wind
that was screaming into our helmets. When we finally reached our hostel
in Mae Sariang, we immediately went to find food. Thank goodness the
service in both places was superb because we were shaking with cold,
our bodies were numb, and shoulder blade pain was also shooting 
down my poor back. The waiter who could speak English was super sweet,
giving me a bowl of his spicy tom yum goong, which barely did the job of warming
me up (we were that cold!)... but I ordered chicken with cashew nuts and french
fries. It was probably the most life-saving meal I have ever had.

Welp, until tomorrow's new adventures!
(By the way, we tried to make the promise to ourselves that we wouldn't travel
past 7PM anymore. It was just too dangerous. We couldn't see the bumps in the
road with our weak motorbike lights, people might be drunk, they were driving
dangerously-fast around curves, and the cold... oh, that cold... *shudders*)

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